By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Connor Hellebuyck’s first shutout of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for the Winnipeg Jets.
Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine scored in the shootout as the Jets ended a three-game losing skid with a 1-0 victory over the red-hot Edmonton Oilers Sunday.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much, sticking with my game and relaxing and reading the game as it came to me,” Hellebuyck said of his 28-save performance.
“I thought I was a calming presence for the guys out there, and it helps when they were clearing rebounds like they were. I’ll enjoy this one. You don’t get too many shutouts.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid were stopped in the shootout.
Overtime featured stripped pucks and tight goaltending.
Edmonton goalie Mike Smith robbed Mark Scheifele in close and Hellebuyck followed that up by denying McDavid on a breakaway.
“That’s what 3-on-3 hockey does with the best players in the world out there,” said Smith, who made 23 saves. “It’s exciting for you guys, not so much for the goalies.”
The Oilers (7-1-1) came into the game winners of two straight.
Winnipeg (5-5-0) was playing its fourth game of a five-game homestand in front of 15,321 fans at Bell MTS Place.
“It’s good to get a result,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “Obviously, it’s been tough around here. I think the quality of our play isn’t reflective of the results we’re getting recently. So, it’s good to finally get one.”
The Jets are undefeated in regulation in their last seven games against the Oilers. Their last loss was Dec. 1, 2016.
The victory also marked Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice’s 700th career win. He’s seventh all-time and third behind active NHL coaches Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers (893) and New York Islanders’ Barry Trotz (815).
Jets defenceman Carl Dahlstrom appeared to score his first NHL goal at 8:27 of the third period, but the play was reviewed and Scheifele was ruled offside and the goal wiped away.
Keeping McDavid and linemate Leon Draisaitl off the scoresheet, especially in overtime, was a bit surprising for Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefborn.
“We’re spoiled to have those two guys on the ice when it’s 3-on-3,” Klefborn said. “And usually it only takes one or two attempts and it’s back in the net.
“It’s going to be nights like this and it was a tight game tonight. Obviously, one point is one point so we’re just going to look forward to the next game.”
Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 7-2 in the first period.
The Jets didn’t get their first shot on goal until 8:06 and finished with another 11 attempts in the period, five that missed the net and six that were blocked.
The Oilers went on a power play with 1:56 left in the opening period and had one shot Hellebuyck turned aside.
Winnipeg went on its first power play seven minutes in the second period and got four shots on Smith.
McDavid was then called for slashing Wheeler late in the second. Winnipeg tallied three shots on goal, including a low Mathieu Perreault shot that Smith squeezed into his body.
Jets centre Bryan Little, making his season debut after suffering a concussion in a pre-season game, went to the penalty box for slashing at 18:46.
Shots on goal after the middle frame were 15-12 in Edmonton’s favour.
Winnipeg had its third power play of the game 26 seconds into the third and Smith stopped Laine’s low, one-timer blast and a shot from Dmitry Kulikov.
Less than a minute after Dahlstrom’s goal was disallowed, the Jets went on the power play again. Smith denied three shot attempts, including two quick ones from close in.
Winnipeg finishes its homestand by hosting the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday. The Oilers are in Minnesota the same night to play the Wild.
Notes: Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl had his point streak end at eight games. He had six goals and 10 assists in that span … Edmonton defenceman Kris Russell was playing in his 800th NHL game.